Zvents blends local search with current events

One of the companies exhibiting at Ad:Tech San Francisco this week is Zvents, a local search engine company that specializes in things to do in big cities big and small towns. According to Paul O'Brien, VP of Marketing for Zvents, his local search engine is helping businesses draw foot traffic to their stores, restaurants and events all across the county.

That's a bold claim -- so I asked to see a demo for Boston events. My bad. It turns out Boston.com is one of the publisher partners for Zvents, along with the San Jose Mercury News, LA.com, and the Detroit News, to name a few.

So, then I asked to see upcoming events for Nevada City, CA. Umm. My bad again. It turns out that The English Beat is playing Saturday, April 19, at Miners Foundry.

Paul told me that Zvents is built on the premise that the Internet is rich in searchable experiences — until you want to find out what's happening where you live. Then it often falls flat.

Let's face it, Yellowpages.com provides listings, but it doesn't provide “news” about those businesses. Meanwhile, TV and newspaper ads contain information about upcoming sales, product deliveries, lectures and in-store events, etc., but this useful information is generally not searchable on the Internet.

Zvents has jumped into this gap to solve this problem.

How? Zvents has scooped up hundreds of media partners such as ones mentioned above along with more than 250 other media channels to create the Zvents Media Network. In a two-way exchange of information, Zvents' collects partner content, and at the same time uploads its own listings on partner sites. It also collects event and business information from the open web, and the user-generated content to create one of the most comprehensive localized search indexes on the Internet.

Zvents built its platform using their own technology (Gordon Rios, the CTO, worked at Inktomi). And the company recently launched "Federated Local Search," making Zvents the first to provide a localized version of Google's Universal Search. Federated (or blended) search presents results that include images, text, local reviews, events, news, and business listings for a comprehensive search experience.

Large companies like REI benefit. Just Google REI Saratoga and you'll find the first search results page is littered with Zvents and its partners' listings.

And small companies benefit, too. Patric Douglas, the owner of Sharkdiver, is sold on Zvents. For his adventure shark tours, he doesn't need to spend a dollar on advertising, because he's an Internet-savvy marketer. One of the key resources he uses is Zvents. “When I post my excursions on Zvents, Sharkdiver jumps to the top of the Google search page. It's like being the only swimmer wearing a pink swimsuit in a pool full of blue bathing suits.”

At Ad:Tech, Zvents is unveiling its paid advertising platform. Businesses can now run display ads and enhanced listings, and Zvents' partners will share in the advertising revenues. Check 'em out. Their booth is # 5684.